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Given the choice between a Game of Thrones episode that divides its attention between each of the characters for a short period of time, versus what we saw tonight as the bulk of the episode focused on a few story arcs and left the rest for future episodes, I much prefer the latter. Was I disappointed not to see Jon Snow or Daenerys tonight? A little, but I thought the episode had a better flow than the ones we’ve seen in the past.
Since much of what went down tonight happened in or around Kings Landing, we’ll start with Robert. The episode began with Robert trying to suit up for the tournament. He’s too fat for his armor and surrounded by yes-people who aren’t willing to tell him so… all except for Ned Stark. There’s a reason Robert brought Ned in. The king may have let himself go but deep down, he knows he needs a voice of reason and Ned’s the only one willing to be that man.
While Ned was able to convince Robert that he doesn’t need to be fighting in tournaments, he wasn’t so successful in convincing him that killing Daenerys (and her unborn child) was a bad plan. “The Robert I grew up with didn’t tremble at the shadow of an unborn child,” Ned said to Robert and his council of yes-people (including Varrys and Littlefinger). Except for Ned, everyone seemed to think the best way to avoid trouble from the Dothrakis, or worse, a Targaryen at the head of a Dothraki army, which would be the case should Dany produce a son, is to kill Dany and be done with it. That’s a line Ned won’t cross and when he puts his foot down, Robert sends him packing.
Earlier in the episode, Arya was chasing cats as part of her dance-training and overheard two men talking about killing the Hand (her father). She talked to Jory about it and he assured her that Ned is safe and protected. This was put to the test at the end of the episode when Jaime confronted Ned over Tyrion being captured. Jaime’s men attacked Ned’s and killed all of them. Jaime killed Jory, stabbing him straight through the eye. I wish we could say he didn’t see it coming but he did, and from the look on his face, he lived just long enough to realize it happened.
There never seems to be a dull moment when Tyrion’s around. Catelyn and her party took the recently captured Tyrion to Eyrie where Lysa, Catelyn’s sister is hiding out. The place is up on a mountain and is said to be impregnable. On the trip, they’re attacked by people and Catelyn unties Tyrion, giving him a chance to defend himself, which leads to him saving her life by bludgeoning a man to death with the pointy end of a shield. Those Lannisters sure know how to create a gross death scene. Seeing a man get his face smashed by a shield is about as gross as watching a man get stabbed through the eye.
On the subject of disturbing scenes, the introduction to Catelyn’s sister Lysa included her son Robert enjoying a meal at his mother’s breast. The kid looks like he’s about Bran’s age, but talks like he’s much younger and begs his mother to let him see the bad man (Tyrion) fly. Catelyn takes control of the situation, reminding her sister that Tyrion is her prisoner.
Tyrion is locked up in a cell that’s completely open on one side and looks out over the side of the mountain. He has nowhere to go but down.
Varrys told Ned that Sir Hugh, the squire killed by Gregor, may have been the one paid to kill Jon Arryn. It would certainly explain how the young squire was able to afford the armor he was wearing at the tournament.
Sansa is smitten by Sir Loras a.k.a. The Knight of the Flowers. Little does she know that the gallant knight is in a secret relationship with Renly. Loras apparently has a preference for hairless men, as evidenced by the way he was doing a bit of manscaping on Renly while talking to him about how he’d make a great king. Loras followed the shaving by performing a certain service on Renly, which wasn’t shown on camera but could be heard fairly clearly for at least a few seconds.
Speaking of sexy-time, Theon Greyjoy appeared for one scene wherein he had sex with a whore, then talked about how his father fought for the freedom of his people. Between these two things, they also had a strange conversation about Tyrion’s bedroom techniques.
Poor Arya keeps getting mistaken for a boy. It doesn’t help that she’s always dirty and running around like… well… a boy. I adore her though and the face she made when she declared herself a girl to the Nights Watchmen who came calling to talk to Ned.
Lysa noted that her husband’s final words were “The seed is strong.” She thinks he was talking about their son Robert (a.k.a. the kid who will probably breast feed until he’s married) but it’s probable he meant something else.
Ned encountered another one of Robert's random children. This one came in the form of a baby girl, born to a mother who looks like she's probably still in her teens and appears to have a bit of a crush on her baby's father.
Cersei and Robert had a heart to heart (or heartless to heartless), which essentially had them both admitting they don’t love each other. Actually, Cersei said there was a time when she was fond of him but when she asked him if there was ever a time when there was a chance for real love between them, he said no. Robert may not be able to remember what Lyanna Stark looked like, but she’s still in his heart. It seems like he’s never even tried to get over losing her or the life they might have had together.
Finally, Bran’s back at Winterfell studying maps and family sayings. He’s irritated that his mother left but it’s probably for the best that she’s not around. Bran’s still coming to accept his life and limitations as a cripple. Normally I’d say that a kid his age needs his mother around but in the harsh world these people are living in, with winter on the way, Bran’s time to man-up has come sooner than most. Fortunately, the saddle design Tyrion offered may give the kid a chance to find some purpose and hope that he’s not completely housebound.
This brings us to the halfway point of the season. I’m assuming we’ll be checking in at the wall and with Daenerys and the Dothraki people next week.